Comparisons between the health care systems of United States and Canada were done by the government and both were same until Canada reformed its system in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Since the prescription drugs in United States are available at high prices, these drugs are mostly imported from Canada where the prices of the drugs are 20-80% lower than those sold in United States.
Although imported drugs are risky but the high prices of drugs charged in the US leaves many patients without access to medicines needed by them and estimates tell that most of the Americans buy drugs from abroad. People cope up with this by buying less food; they share their drugs with the others while some go without having medications. However, more than a third of the US citizens buy drugs at cheaper prices from Canada.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration discourages the US residents to buy prescription drugs from Canada because they can be risky as they can be counterfeit drugs and the medicines can either be too strong or weak. Moreover, the drugs might be made in conditions that are unsafe and the drugs can also be beyond their best-before date. However, all these guidelines did not top the Americans from buying drugs from Canada.
There are some factors that have played a major role in making the drugs in Canada cheaper than those available in the US. The price controls help in keeping the cost of brand-name drugs cheaper in Canada, pharmaceutical prices are regularly reviewed by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.
Since US allows the drug companies to opt for direct consumer advertising, the costs of drugs automatically rise as the companies recover their advertising costs by selling drugs at higher prices. Moreover, it is said that the US does a lot of research and development work in order to make drugs and this is another reason why they charge higher prices for the drugs they sell.
Keeping in mind the distribution and the pricing of the pharmaceuticals, besides the factors mentioned above, the pharmaceutical manufacturers are also responsible for lowering the prices of drugs in Canada since they do not opt for much direct advertising neither do they charge higher prices for research and when these drugs are sold to the pharmacies and wholesalers, their prices remain low.
I think it should be made legal for the residents of the US to order their drugs from the Canadian pharmacies because this would enable them to save money and it would be beneficial especially for those people who do not have much budget to spend on medicines.
However, not all the purchases of drugs should be made legal because the question of ethics arises for the Canadian doctors who willingly write prescriptions for the US citizens without proper examination and if all the US citizens start importing medicines from Canada, the Canadian drug market will fall short of supply for the local people and quality will also be affected.
However, it will also have a major effect on the US drug market especially if majority of the people opt for buying drugs from Canada and this is because the sales of the US drug dealers and pharmaceutical companies will greatly decrease and will have a negative impact on the economy and will also cause unemployment as the supply of drugs will decrease.
Ardi, Francis. Possibly Why Prescription Drugs are Expensive in the United States, 2009. July 10th, 2010. Retrieved from: http://healthmad.com/medicine/possibly-why-prescription- drugs-are-expensive-in-the-united-states/ Cbc.ca. Prescription drugs: more business for Canadian online pharmacies?, 2009. July 10th, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/02/27/f-onlinedrugs.html
Tanne, Janice, H. Local governments in US buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, 2003. July 10th, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1126857/
 Ardi, Francis. Possibly Why Prescription Drugs are Expensive in the United States. 2009. July 10th, 2010. Retrieved from: http://healthmad.com/medicine/possibly-why-prescriptiondrugs-are-expensive-in-the-united-states/
 Cbc.ca. Prescription drugs: more business for Canadian online pharmacies? 2009. July 10th, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/02/27/f-onlinedrugs.html
 Tanne, Janice, H. Local governments in US buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, 2003. July 10th, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1126857/